feminism, feminist, gender, literature, politics, women, writer

An Interesting Turn of Events: Ohio Bookstore Celebrates Women’s Month

All puns intended here, an Ohio Bookshop has chosen to celebrate International Women’s Month by effectively silencing all their male authors — and doesn’t that make a nice change? — by displaying them spine inwards.

Loganberry Books, a feminist-oriented bookstore, and their small staff worked through around 8,000 books in order to protest the historical suppression of women’s voices and to ensure their voices are now heard in this playful and potentially controversial exhibition.

The act means that only female authors are left on view, their voices, narratives and histories made visible against their newly anonymous male colleagues. And it does make an interesting turn of events, especially as women’s literature and history has for so many centuries been oppressed and censored in myriad ways.

Varied attempts only the last two to three decades have been made to render women’s words more salient: it’s a great thing to see that continue in new and interesting formats.

In conclusion, I suppose, Happy International Women’s Month!

https://heatst.com/culture-wars/ohio-bookstore-flips-male-authored-books-displaying-them-backwards/

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feminism, feminist, politics, race, racism, writer

Twitter Truths (2/?)

Raising awareness is all well and good — but how about initiating the solutions instead and actually providing the necessary aid? This is global capitalism marketing an ongoing crisis while the powers that be fail in every respect to ensure even the most basic human rights in a first world country!

 

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Curiosity sparks further outraged questioning: how much money is being wasted towards a fake representation of what is currently happening? Seeing as it is currently happening, why not an honest documentary of the people’s real life experiences instead of another whitewashed (Cher will lead the cast; Flint, MI is a majority black state, so yes, whitewashed!) spiel? And the profits? Will they be dedicated to some actual aid?

advice, feminism, feminist, gender, misogyny, sexism, Uncategorized, writer

Academia’s “Large and Small Indignities”

I’ve been exceedingly lucky so far in my doctoral progress: between the backing of a highly supportive and enthusiastic supervisor and surrounding colleagues – of both a qualified and student status – and the fact that I still warrant the opportunity for future funding (fingers and toes crossed!), however all is not well and good in the academic arena for the early stagers and newbies…

What has become apparent during my first year of my doctoral profress, and in the meeting and greeting of other students, are the frankly frequent injustices and grievances – from the petty and small scale to the larger and outright disgraceful actions – which early stagers and students suffer, and often without any official structures of support or aid from these issues.

Well, in mentioning that earlier supportive supervisor: she updated on this earlier today:

https://largeandsmallindignities.tumblr.com/

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Opportunities for support are few and far between for students in these early stage positions. Sometimes it’s only one another we can rely on, but all forms of activism are essential in these matters.

As such, here’s my (small) grievance:

 I attended a very high profile conference in Leicester, England in 2016. I won’t provide details, suffice to say, I was not a confirmed speaker but an audience participant looking to expand my horizons as a first year doctoral student. I met with many wonderful and enthusiastic early stage researchers and a great many later stage doctors and professors who offered nothing but enthusiasm, email addresses, advice and aid.

This is notable in comparison to the one older gentleman and professor who felt it impertinent to advice me twice:

“You look so much better without your glasses. You shouldn’t wear them.”

Ta, love.

feminism, feminist, gender, homosexual, Ireland, misogyny, politics, race, sexism, Uncategorized, violence, Violence Against Women, women, writer

The Woes of Feminism and the Movies

Many of us have been unfortunate enough to witness the vitriol and small-mindedness which accompanied the build-up and release of the gender-reversed reboot of Ghostbusters earlier this year. With it, of course, came the chorus of mostly male laments against feminism: “How dare four women take the place of four men, who do they think they are? When we say reboots, all we want is updates CGI, not feminist propaganda!”

Unsurprisingly, the malevolence didn’t end there, but included the use of intimidation and threats against the spook-filled films selection of female stars, most notably and again unsurprisingly Leslie Jones, the specter-ass-kicking squads resident black sass queen. While Jones’ stand against the intimidation tactics unfortunately involved a loss for the Twittersphere (she recently announced a much needed break from the site following the abuse) the equation which continues to divide feminism and movie media has become once more evident via Twitter trend #FeministAMovie

The hashtag reached trending proportions in early August, catching my own attention on 11 August… of the hilarious possibilities which were available. How excited I was to scroll through potential hilarious gender-reversals, queer puns, and non-heteronormative re-titles.

What I got instead proved the false consciousness which continues to surround the feminist movement. Several of which used Ghostbusters as the bone of contention:

It was only following my disappointment that I discovered the hashtag was, in fact, a response to the all-female cast announced for Oceans 8; the new installment combining the star skills of Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter, Mindy Kaling, and Awkwafina. The outraged reaction against the positioning of women in public spaces resulted in a reiteration of misogynistic themes,  homophobic and transphobic commentary, and the general array of stereotypical sexist insults which amount to the manosphere’s armory.

Certainly, the stereotype of the “Feminazi,” the “manhater”, the angry, hairy, cajoling cartoon feminist consistently drawn into bad cartoons was redrawn again and again:

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These texts reanimate negative stereotypes commonly linked with the feminist figure in popular culture, many concentrating on the negative ways feminist discourse (supposedly) affects women’s most crucial aspect: appearance. A failure to adhere to traditional and overtly-normalised femininity and the beauty standards related to this unnatural state of being is consistently related one’s success or failure in being a woman.

Related to these highly idealised beauty standards and ideals of proper womanhood is the contemporary horror related to female menstruation. Horror movies, blockbuster comedies and the following tweets alike depict this natural and widely experienced event as the abject moment:

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Many others simply and in-eloquently depicted feminism and feminists as something to be despised and abused, where feminists are literally unknowable (and unloveable) and as at once undeserving of men and unable to keep them.

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Thankfully, and once again in keeping with the Ghostbuster’s narratives, feminists rallied against their would-be oppressors with a selection of their own #FeministAMovie tweets which created new sexual spaces, challenged heteronormativity, repossessed female and coloured space from male and white privileges and generally educated individuals that the humourless, hairy-feminazi figure could at least, occassionally, be funny for the sake of politics:

 

In short, movie media continues to challenge feminist gains, but there is an undeniable movement occurring wherein women are being permitted space to narrate new experiences on screen. Comedies such as Bridesmaids, Ghostbusters and the up-coming Moms are repositioning women’s traditional position on screen, while action genres are redrawing squad goals in Oceans 8, and sci-fi/comics genre is FINALLY due to welcome Wonderwoman to the big screen in the first female-lead movie, and while these narratives are being challenged by the greater masses, we’ll continue to met the challenge.

 

 

S.

 

feminism, feminist, misogyny, rape, sexism, women, writer

Novelist Louise O’Neill’s “Only Ever Yours” To Appear on Screen

Irish author Louise O’Neill’s novel to be adapted for film and TV

Very excited to hear that author Louise O’Neill is gaining the recognition she so rightly deserves.

Her chilling yet engaging debut “Only Ever Yours” details the tentative pressures placed on women in contemporary society but with the obligatory dysotopian twist… and will soon be adapted for film/TV.

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O’Neill’s text highlights countless feminist issues affecting all women, focusing specifically on young women and teenagers experience of sex, beauty and the need to be desired, wanted and approved by others.

Most frightening (and perhaps accurately) O’Neill’s narrative depicts the competition fostered among and between women from a young age, the lack of sisterhood and friendship this produces, and the overall devastation and isolation as a result.

Meanwhile, O’Neill’s newest novel, “Asking For It” continues to examine the pressures women experience, focusing on the proliferation of rape culture in rural Ireland. Though I have not yet read her newest addition to the shelves, I have little doubt it and any work she produces in the future will continue to endorse the feminist agenda and highlight the misogyny and sexism rampant throughout our society – in rural Ireland or some far-off future…

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abuse, domestic violence, feminism, feminist, literature, misogyny, sexism, violence, women, writer

50 Shades of Gre-garious Domestic Violence

I’ve never read the book.

I’ll own up to that much. “Fifty Shades of Grey” was never going to float my boat; I prefer my porn more consensual…

But, when the badly written smut hit the fan, I was intrigued – decent representations of female sexuality are few and far between in popular fictions – so, as any good scholar would, I did my research and, well…

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I think the examples really speak from themselves; taken straight from the book, they highlight the one-sided, abusive, domineering and controlling relationship fostered between protagonist Ana and the “charming” (please note the quotation marks) Christian…

I read these samples of dialogue back when the text first hit the bestselling lists and, sick to my stomach at this violent, abusive behaviour masquerading as sexual “play” and sado-macho activities, decided that I’d give this disgrace parading as literature a miss. 50 shades simply isn’t for me… and I don’t want to go on a rant against the women who enjoyed the text or the movie – let’s face it, Twilight was pretty popular, so of course 50 Shades would and will continue to dominate the bookshelves for some time to come.

If the release date – Valentine’s Day –  didn’t tip you off, the movie experience has been dubbed the romantic experience of the year. It has experienced one of the biggest box office openings so far this year, is expected to gross billions more and is only the first installment in an eventual trilogy – or, well, being more honest quadrilogy: Hollywood’s bound to make the last book a double feature…

This all links to a continuing and disheartening trend in the dominant and controlling partner as desirable in contemporary fiction and cinema: first Edward Cullen, now the new Edward Cullen in masquerading in fanfiction as a millionaire, FORBS 500 candidate and an even worse tendency to romanticise violence against women, reducing all issues of consent and feminist milestone in the last century to meaningless trifle which will only get in the way of all the “romance” (quotation marks, remember!).

If or if not certain women or men found the movie or literary experience worthwhile and got a few shivers in the process, that’s fine. Censorship has never been my thing; too Third Reich Nazism for me and my liberal values, the important thing for me with this text is the need for awareness. The public who consume Fifty Shades should endeavour not to reproduce its messages.

As with Twilight, we need to ensure women and men are aware of the issues this book presents, the abusive behaviour depicted through a suave and powerful character, the notable and problematic lack of consent in a slave-master relationship. The romanticisation of these texts is dangerous for women, through the consumption of these texts the public relearns the abusive lessons of the past, forgoing all feminist gains, and women become sexual commodities in need of controlling and deserving a good spanking… non-consensual, of course. Through these texts women and men relearn and regurgitate a frightening culture where they are the main commodity to be taken and had.

This is what we need to ensure comes out of the 50 Shades experience:

By all means, go to the cinema, enjoy the book, reread, rewatch, climax even! But understand that this book is a fictional representation of how romantic and intimate relationships should NOT work. This text is an example of a dangerous, abusive and terrifying relationship, it is proof of how a patriarchal structure still influences our minds and the contexts of how our relationships should work.

Moreover, if you respect your partner, it is a blueprint on how NOT to treat them.

literature, philosophy, strenght, writer

Gabriel Garcia Marquez Passes Away

Aged 87, the famed writer and Nobel-Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Maquez has passed from this world.

Writing primarily about the passions of his own ethnic background, Marquez published works depicting Latin-Americans. After accepting the Nobel prize for literature in 1982, Marquez said of his kin:

Source of insatiable creativity, full of sorrow and beauty, of which this roving and nostalgic Colombian is but one cipher more, singled out by fortune. Poets and beggars, musicians and prophets, warriors and scoundrels, all creatures of that unbridled reality, we have had to ask but little of imagination, for our crucial problem has been a lack of conventional means to render our lives believable.

[…]

His flamboyant and melancholy fictional works — among them “Chronicle of a Death Foretold,” ”Love in the Time of Cholera” and “Autumn of the Patriarch” — outsold everything published in Spanish except the Bible.

– Heffington Post.

Known as the most popular writer of magical realism – the mixing of the common and everyday with magical, imaginary and fantastic – Maquez, himself, was somewhat magical and today, truly, the world has lost a piece of that magic.

advice, feminism, feminist, literature, misogyny, race, racism, sexism, strenght, violence, women, writer

“We Should All be Feminists” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I just love Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, her work is beautiful, and her argument here for TedTalks is way too important to be ignored.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie a renowned Nigerian novelist was born in Nigeria in 1977. She grew up in the university town of Nsukka, Enugu State where she attended primary and secondary schools, and briefly studied Medicine and Pharmacy. She then moved to the United States to attend college, graduating summa cum laude from Eastern Connecticut State University with a major in Communication and a minor in Political Science. She holds a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins and a Masters degree in African Studies from Yale University. She was a 2005-2006 Hodder Fellow at Princeton, where she taught introductory fiction. Chimamanda is the author of Half of a Yellow Sun, which won the 2007 Orange Prize For Fiction; and Purple Hibiscus, which won the 2005 Best First Book Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the 2004 Debut Fiction Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. In 2009, her collection of short stories, The Thing around Your Neck was published. She was named one of the twenty most important fiction writers today under 40 years old by The New Yorker and was recently the guest speaker at the 2012 annual commonwealth lecture. She featured in the April 2012 edition of Time Magazine, celebrated as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. She currently divides her time between the United States and Nigeria.

Intro and Outro music by Kadialy Kouyate performed at TEDxEuston 2011. You can view the full performance here: http://youtu.be/KUfD5WGL3hw.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.

advice, feminism, feminist, sexism, strenght, Uncategorized, writer

Beyoncé: “Gender Equality is a Myth”

Beyoncé’s music has always had a feminist quality to it; and now we’re being treated to a magazine article written by Queen B herself.

Writing as part of the Shriver Report, Beyoncé states:

We need to stop buying into the myth about gender equality. It isn’t a reality yet.

Beyoncé, moreover, calls for both men and women to strive for gender and sexual equality.

Men have to demand that their wives, daughters, mothers, and sisters earn more—commensurate with their qualifications and not their gender.

[…]

Humanity requires both men and women, and we are equally important and need one another. So why are we viewed as less than equal? These old attitudes are drilled into us from the very beginning. We have to teach our boys the rules of equality and respect, so that as they grow up, gender equality becomes a natural way of life. And we have to teach our girls that they can reach as high as humanly possible.

Read the whole of Beyoncé’s work here: http://shriverreport.org/gender-equality-is-a-myth-beyonce/

 

feminism, feminist, literature, poetry, women, writer

Doris Lessing

Earlier this week, the talented and beloved writer, playwright, poet, and Nobel Prize winner, Doris Lessing, passed away, gently at age 94.

Her impressive career – over 50 works – exceeded decades, boundaries and genres; she wrote almost-feminist-fiction (The Golden Notebook), political non-fiction  (Prisons We Choose To Live Inside), depictions of the developing world and class struggles (The Good Terrorist), dysotopian and science-fiction (Memoirs of a Survivor)  and the landscapes of Africa where she spent much of her formative years (as is beautifully depicted in her first novel The Grass is Singing.) Her work, furthermore, has influenced the establishment of the Doris Lessing Society dedicated to academically and studiously reviewing her work.

Despite her arduous upbringing – difficulties with her mother, dropping out a school when she was 13 and self-educating herself – she evidently went on to become a masterful, respected, and, much adored public figure and, no doubt, will continue to be so.

Whatever you’re meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible.

Find below the covers of some of her best and most celebrated works:

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